Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
© 1996 Jamie Zawinski <jwz@jwz.org>

Being the age I am, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood was very big part of my childhood. I still vividly remember that odd little man coming through the door, singing like a president, and then sitting down to change his shoes.

Almost as vividly, I remember how brutally my mother and uncle used to make fun of the show. Every time Henrietta Pussycat was on, the two of them would walk around speaking in her ``myow myow'' style, saying things like ``Myow myow stick it up your myow myow ass myow myow'', over and over again. At the time, I really didn't think they were showing Mr. Rogers the proper respect! I was as indignant as a six-year-old can be.

I grew up in Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. Or at least in his city (Pittsburgh); I didn't actually live in his neighborhood until I was in high school. I saw him walking down the street once or twice. It was disconcerting.

But more disconcerting is a story that one of my coworkers told me years later. A story which, I hasten to add, is in all likelihood complete bullshit. But the story is this:

My coworker also claimed that he grew up with a girl who used to date the younger Rogers, while they were in high school. One day after school, so the story goes, the two of them were making out on the couch when the elder Rogers came home early and interrupted them. He started screaming and swearing. Now it's bad enough for a teenager to be interrupted in a compromising position like that by an irate parent, but when Mister Rogers Himself walks in and starts swearing at you about it... you've got to figure that this girl was going to have some serious sexual hangups for the rest of her life.

I'm really not sure if I can believe this story, because I have a hard time accepting that Mister Rogers would swear, ever. That's just very hard to swallow.

Won't you be. My neighbor?

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